There aren’t enough young adult fantasy novels, so I was really excited when I received this book to review. For one, it looks like it could be just as at home in the adult section of a book store as it could in the young adult section, and secondly the blurb gave me enough information to be intrigued. I really was not disappointed in Huntress.
Taisin is a gifted student, studying to become a Sage. She has powerful sight and can see into the future. She sees Kaede in her future, and doesn’t understand the feelings she had when she watched the vision of Kaede fade into the distance.
Kaede is the daughter of the chancellor to the king, and has no gift with magic whatsoever. She only got into the school because of her father, and although she excels at the practical, she knows she will never be a Sage like Taisin. In fact, if her father has his way she will be married off as soon as she finishes her studies.
Taisin knows her vision is related to the change in the seasons, or the lack of change. This coincides with an invitation for the king to visit the fey; an invitation like that hasn’t been given in centuries, and so Taisin and Kaede journey with the king’s son, Con to visit the fey, and find out what the weird creatures that keep appearing are, and if they have anything to do with the unchanging seasons.
Taisin remembers how she felt towards Kaede in her vision and tries her hardest to stay away from her. If she is to become a sage then she has to be celibate; there is no room for love in her world. But they are drawn together slowly, gently…
First of all, this is a fantasy novel that explores magic, the fantastic, and what could happen if the atmosphere changed so abruptly. Crops stop growing, food becomes scarce, people start to panic. The love story is secondary, but no less important. It adds depth, and character to both Taisin and Kaede. You can’t help but root for them, and hope against all odds that they can be together.
The fact that they’re both women is almost inconsequential. That makes this novel even better. I admit, I have a weakness for LGBT novels; mix that with the fantasy genre and I’m in my element. I had no idea that this would be, not only a fantasy novel, but also lesbian interest. It’s all very subtle and tastefully done, and done in such a way where the sex of the characters isn’t as important as the love they feel.
This aspect of the novel could have easily taken over; it could have been sensationalised and even classed as lesbian fiction instead, but I’m glad it’s not. I’m glad that the sexual preference of the characters didn’t overtake the plot, at the same time I almost wished there was more of a hint of it on the blurb of the book, so to appeal to those in categories that are often overlooked.
So, if you want to read a brilliant fantasy novel full of magic, fey, with a brilliant world and a great plot, where the main characters happen to be the same sex–and fall in love with each other–then this is the novel for you.
I really love that a YA novel outside of the norm has been published by such a well known publisher and treated like, and given the same amount of attention and backing as more run of the mill novels. This needs to happen more often!
I was looking forward to reading this novel from the offset, it’s thoughtful, understanding and it slowly builds in pace, it raises issues such as same sex relationships in the safety of a fantasy novel, and it’s hard not to feel the love growing between them. Taisin and Kaede are easy to identify with and I couldn’t help but love them, and worry about them. I only found upon finishing it that it’s the prequel to Ash, but it definitely stands strong alone, and I urge anyone to read it whether they’ve read Ash or not.
BUY YOUR COPY